On this afternoon's outing I met a group of cyclists riding the Sustrans Thames Valley route from Hampton Court, then planning to get a train back from Henley. They must have covered about 25 miles at the point we met, and they still had about 8 miles to go. They had stopped at a point where the Sustrans map is a bit vague. I know the route well, and it wasn't difficult to point them in the right direction.
We then got to discussing the next couple of stages of their ride.
After crossing some fields, and following some minor lanes, the Sustrans route then follows a woodland path, over a hill. It's a nice ride, but a bit steep and heavy going. It's OK for mountain bikes, I guess, and sometimes I've taken that route, but normally I bypass it and take the flatter road.
After that they would need to get off the Sustrans route to reach Henley station. The two obvious options both involve minor A-roads. Neither is great for cycling, but the one they were planning to take is quite narrow, with a few blind corners. I prefer the other. Although it is busier, there is more space, so I find the traffic less of a problem. An even better option is to take a longer route down a little side lane and along the river. I'm not sure what the official position is on cycling along that part of the riverside path, but people do, and it's a nice ride.
Proud of my local knowledge, I blurted all this out without thinking it through, then realised that I'd probably caused more trouble than I'd saved.
Some of the group were prepared to admit that they were getting tired, others were still up for more of a challenge. A couple were in favour of switching to the easier route, others preferred to stick with their original plan. I'm sure they will have sorted it all out, but having thoughtlessly caused confusion it seemed best to retreat and leave them to it. Next time I'll try to engage my brain before opening my mouth.